Illegal sand mining along the Dong Nai River, Vietnam

Illegal sand mining along the Dong Nai River is causing large environmental and socio-economic destruction, including death of residents due to massive land-slides.


Following the recent Vietnamese construction boom and its rapidly growing demand for construction materials such a sand and gravel, illegal sand extraction along the Dong Nai River has drastically increased during the last decade, in spite of provincial and national efforts to ban sand mining activities [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Illegal sand mining along the Dong Nai River, Vietnam
State or province:Dong Nai province; Binh Duong province
(municipality or city/town)i.e. Vinh Cuu District; Nhon Trach District; and Buu Long, Long Bing Tanh and Hiep Hoa in Bien Hoa City
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Sand, gravel
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Dong Nai River is the country’s longest inland river. Since years it is threatened by illegal sand mining.

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Level of Investment:NA
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:Dang Nai population living close to the river
Start of the conflict:2000
Relevant government actors:Bien Hoa City environmental police; Dong Nai Department of Natural Resources and Environment
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:no information on EJOs could be found
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local government/political parties
translation missing: en.m.mobilizing_groups.fisher_people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow)
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths, Other Health impacts
Potential: Malnutrition
Other Health impactsResidents have died, following land-slides
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Other socio-economic impactsDamages to infrastructure (bridges, houses); declining fish stocks; declining agricultural area due to dike degradation
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Development of alternatives:Petitioners demand better state monitoring and protection of rivers against illegal sand miners, as well as higher penalties [4].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Illegal sand mining goes on.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

2010 Mineral Law of Vietnam
[click to view]

2005 Mineral law of Vietnam
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[2] Nguyen Mau Dung, 2011. River Sand Mining And Managament: A Case Of Cau River In Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam. Research Report No. 2011 RR7. Published by the Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA)
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Viet Nam News online (16/07/2013): "Illegal sand miners plague Dong Nai" (accessed 06/07/2015)
[click to view]

[4] Petition on Forcechange.com "Stop Illegal Sand Exploitation in Vietnam" (accessed 06/07/2015)
[click to view]

[3] dti news online (13/03/2013): "Dong Nai people struggle to fight illegal sand exploitation" (accessed 06/07/2015)
[click to view]

Other documents

River sand transport Source: http://forcechange.com/62667/stop-illegal-sand-exploitation-in-vietnam/
[click to view]

Sand mining industry Source: http://vietnamnews.vn/environment/242126/illegal-sand-miners-plague-dong-nai.html
[click to view]

Local guard watching the river Source: http://dtinews.vn/en/news/021/28138/dong-nai-people-struggle-to-fight-illegal-sand-exploitation.html
[click to view]

Sunken sand mining boat (after inspection and escape) source: http://dtinews.vn/en/news/021/28138/dong-nai-people-struggle-to-fight-illegal-sand-exploitation.html
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:A. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim "dot" scheidel "at" gmail "dot" com
Last update16/07/2015